MORAL JUDGMENT OF SOME FORMS OF ACADEMIC PLAGIARISM: UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS’ OPINION
1 Technological Institute of Motul (MEXICO)
2 Autonomous University of Yucatan (MEXICO)
3 Balearic Islands University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Unethical and fraudulent behaviours in academia seem to have always existed (Comas, 2009). However, most of the recent studies focused on the analysis of this topic suggests that there has been detected an increment of academic dishonest practices amongst students, specially the commission of plagiarism, due to several factors (Comas & Sureda, 2010; Ercegovac & Richardson, 2004; Hansen, 2003).
In this paper we present the results of a survey carried out in two countries amongst 953 undergraduate students (275 enrolled in courses in the Technological Institute of Motul –Mexico- and 678 enrolled in degrees at the University of the Balearic Islands –Spain-), in which participants responded a questionnaire about academic dishonest practices. One of the research dimensions of the study was to analyse and describe the moral judgement that students make regarding some forms of academic plagiarism:
Action 1) Submit an essay, or substantial parts of it, that has been submitted previously without changes;
Action 2) Copy a whole essay from the Internet and submit it as original;
Action 3) Copy fragments of different internet sources and without citations paste it in an essay;
Action 4) Copy fragments from printed sources and without citations paste it in an essay.
Participants had to express their moral judgement about these academic dishonest actions by responding to a scale of three positions:
1) Morally unimportant;
2) Morally reprehensible; and
3) Morally very reprehensible.
Results show that the practice less morally reprehensible, according to participants’ opinions, was “Action 1” (58,3% of participants considered it “Morally unimportant”). On the other hand the more severe and morally unacceptable practices were: “Action 2” (34,1% considered it “Morally very reprehensible”) and “Action 4” (22,5% considered it “Morally very reprehensible”). Based on a Student's t-test, results indicates the existence of statically significant differences amongst the moral judgements of female and male students on two of the plagiarism practices studied: a) females value as less morally acceptable “Action 3” when compared to males; b) and on the contrary, males value as less morally acceptable “Action 1” when compared to females. There are also statistically significant differences amongst the students of the two universities surveyed in two of the actions studied: participants enrolled in the Technological Institute of Motul value as more unacceptable the commission of actions 1 and 3 when compared to the students enrolled at the University of the Balearic Islands.
This paper is part of the activities carried out by members of the Autonomous University of Yucatan and the Balearic Islands University funded by the Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado -AUIP- under the “Programa de Becas de Movilidad Académica 2014-15”.
 Comas, R., & Sureda, J. (2010). Academic plagiarism: Explanatory factors from students’ perspective. Journal of Academic Ethics, 8(3), 217-232.
 Ercegovac, Z., & Richardson, J. V. (2004). Academic dishonesty, plagiarism included, in the digital age: A literature review. College & Research Libraries, 65(4), 301-318.
 Comas, R. (2009). El ciberplagio y otras formas de deshonestidad académica entre el alumnado universitario (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis). Palma de Mallorca: University of the Balearic Islands.
 Hansen, B. (2003). Combating plagiarism. The CQ Researcher, 13(32), 775-792.
Keywords: Academic plagiarism, academic integrity, university undergraduate students.